August 15 2009
Statement for 40th Anniversary of Bed-In
40 years ago, at the height of the Vietnam war, John & Yoko had the vision to turn their honeymoon into a call for peace. They asked us to imagine a world without violence. It was a call that remains unfulfilled.
Today we honor that call with a "group Bed-In" that is also one of the first steps in the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, an action that coincides with the urgent needs of these times.
We are living in a highly dangerous moment. We are all threatened by nuclear weapons - young and old, rich and poor, all colors and faiths. And the spread of this technology is more and more out of control. There can be no peace as long as nuclear weapons exist and to avoid a future catastrophe we have to act today.
Last year, the world spent almost $1.5 trillion on weapons. Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that there are now one billion people in the world suffering of hunger - one sixth of the people in the world! This insane inversion of priorities shows the violence of the global economic system which always seems to be able to find money for military spending or to bail out Wall Street but when it comes to feeding human beings, they cry: "But how are we going to pay for it?"
Violence keeps growing, violence of all kinds, from the spread of nuclear weapons to hunger on a daily basis. People want peace and security; the ability to care for their families, to work with dignity, to be cared for in sickness and old age, to enjoy their youth! People want peace, yet violence is growing. How can we overcome this stark reality? Sometimes it's the people that need to lead. This is one of those times.
John & Yoko set an inspiring example but they were also part of a movement. Later it got diverted but things changed a lot because people moved. Now the crisis is no longer limited to a few places. It's global; it touches us all. So if we don't give peace another chance, we're facing a high probability of catastrophe.
But there are signs of a new activism; democratic and nonviolent impulses coming from the grass roots. We've seen it in Iran, in Bolivia, and in the activism of young people in Obama's campaign. This needs to grow.
The World March is becoming a global action of unprecedented scale. It will bring together millions all over the world in a call to abolish nuclear weapons, end the unrelenting funding and development of weapons of mass destruction worldwide and build a new world based on Nonviolence and basic human values.
The time is now, the need is great - and together we can do it.
Sr. Alan García Pérez President of Peru - RE: Urgent demand that the Government of Peru stop using violence as a means of conflict resolution and that it respect the human rights of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon.